Discover Your STEM Career: Food Scientist (Viewers Ages 10-13)

Discover Your STEM Career: Food Scientist (Viewers Ages 10-13)


Hi, I’m Dr. Ana Cristina! I’m the Sr. Food Scientist at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Innovation Centre at Niagara College. As a food scientist, I create new foods for people. It’s our job as a food scientist to make sure that the food we deliver tastes really good and is also healthy and safe for you. We’re here at the food quality lab and we’re going to do an experiment. We took some tomatoes from the greenhouse, and we’re going to make some tomato juice. We’re going to use our pH meter here to measure how acidic a tomato is. When something is acidic, we’re going to see tiny particles called hydrogen atoms. The more hydrogen atoms we have, the more acidic it’s going to be. the more acidic it’s going to be. We’re going to measure the pH of the different tomato juices that we made with different tomatoes. The pH meter is going to give us a pH number. I’m going to stir it a little bit so I get a reading. Voila! We got a number! If we have a pH of 3.2 for the first tomato juice, that means that it’s very acidic. Why is it important to know the pH? One, for flavor, to see how acidic it is and also for safety. When it’s not too acidic, say a pH of 5, we have to be careful. Really tiny living organisms can live there very easily. We don’t want those living organisms to be living there because that can make us sick! When we go to the grocery store for example and we have a can of tomato and we have a look at what’s on the label, sometimes there’s a little bit of citric acid in there. [We need to] make sure that we have a nice level of acidity. Why? When it’s very acidic, those living organisms, they don’t like it. They don’t live there. We want to make sure it tastes good but also is safe for us to eat. I decided to be a food scientist because I love food science, I love math, I love chemistry, I love biology. I wanted to apply that science to something that I can see the outcome right away. I love my job because I get to understand the science behind every single ingredient to make delicious, healthy safe food. If you want to be a food scientist it’s because you love food! Also because you want to be creative – you like to create different foods and different ingredients. Also because you like to understand why things happen. You want to understand the science behind it. And this is how you’re going to become a very good food scientist!

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